In June 2018, I had lost my grandfather. He was well in his nineties and watching him go from the sweet and gentle grandpa I had known to a very fragile state was difficult — but it was essentially a part of life. I understood that and accepted it.
In September, I had lost my father. He was only 62 and watching the strong, ambitious, and full of character of the man who instantly had disappeared seemed foreign to me. It was the purest love I had ever known and I did not understand and still have not accepted it.
A week after losing my father, I had lost my friend to cancer. He was 28-years-old and was an artist at heart with a creative mind and soul. He chose death with dignity. I had to dig deep within me to understand and wholeheartedly had to accept the choice he had made and that was to be at peace.
So to sum it all up, 2018 was the year that I had all sight of magic. To me, such a thing no longer existed.
My dad was a big believer in the law of attraction and that if you wanted something bad enough, it would deliver. So on the night of his funeral, I thought long, hard, and deep into my soul that I could manifest my dad back. I was so sure it was going to happen and he would magically walk into my room, sit on my bed, and tell me, “I’m here. It’s okay.”
Because that was the magic of the universe — ask and you shall receive. I asked, and with all my heart and soul I sat on my bed and watched that door. He never walked through that door, because the reality was, we laid him to rest that day with a hundred prayers and tears that would seal the vase where his cremated ashes would remain.
With pep talks from friends and family who had lost their parents, they had informed me that this was only the chipping of the iceberg of what would become a lifelong longing and missing. In the CHamorro language, the native tongue of the island my father is from, we would call it mahålang.
It took some time to see that there was hidden magic in death and it’s the one thing that awakens us from our own reality. We realize how immersed we are in our daily lives and forget that life is to be lived day by day, minute by minute, and moment by moment.
As the holidays began to approach, I started realizing how the days were creeping in faster than I was able to hold things together. This would be my first Christmas without my father and as I sat quietly on the cold chilled floors of my living room drowning myself through bottles of wine, I didn’t expect to get a visit from my best friend — with a Christmas tree.
Growing up, we never really displayed a Christmas tree. We did when I was much younger, but after the age of nine, we stopped putting it up altogether. As my best friend and I started putting up the Christmas tree, I realized where the magic was all along. There was much-existed magic in the relationship with others — especially during the most unbearable and silent moments where your heart and soul tug at one another. The magic exists in compassion, care, and genuine love.
My best friend had also lost her mother earlier this year and this is also her first Christmas without her.
Mahålang yu’ nu hågu, Dad.